Iran may grant citizenship to Pakistani ‘volunteers’ fighting in Syria and Iraq


Iran has passed a law allowing the government to grant citizenship to the families of foreigners killed while fighting for the Islamic republic, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.

The law could apply to “volunteers” from Afghanistan and Pakistan who are fighting in Syria and Iraq against militants, including the militant Islamic State (IS) group and Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Al-Nusra Front.

“Members of the parliament authorised the government to grant Iranian citizenship to the wife, children and parents of foreign martyrs who died on a mission… during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) and afterwards,” it said.

Citizenship must be awarded “within a maximum period of one year after the request”, IRNA added.

Iranian media regularly reports on the death of Pakistani and Afghan volunteers in Syria and Iraq, with their bodies are buried in Iran. More than three million Afghans live in Iran, one million as legal migrants however no figures are available on the number of foreign fighters killed during the Iran-Iraq war.

Iran is a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and provides financial and military support to his regime. Iran’s outgoing parliament will serve until late May.

Tehran says its Fatemiyoun Brigade, comprised of Afghan recruits, are volunteers defending sacred Shia sites in Syria and Iraq against militants of IS.

The Islamic republic denies having any boots on the ground and insists its commanders and generals act as “military advisers” in Syria and Iraq.